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Without a doubt, THE LOST CONTINENT ($30) is the oddest of oddball movies to be produced by Hammer. Part science fiction, part fantasy, part potboiler- all very weird. THE LOST CONTINENT tells the story of a group of travelers on a tramp steamer, all with their particular reasons for traveling outside the lap of luxury. You have the requisite drunk, nymphomaniac, disgraced doctor, plus an ex-mistress who stole a wad of cash from her former politico lover. The travel conditions are definitely a bit shabby, but all of these people are running away from something. Even the captain of the tramp steamer has something heís hiding. Unfortunately for everyone, the captainís secret turns out to be an illegal cargo of material that explodes when exposed to water. Obviously, carrying this cargo is not a very good idea, especially on an old rust bucket that leaks. Eventually, the crew discovers the illegal cargo and threatens mutiny, however everyone soon has a far bigger problem on their hands. It seems that the captainís desire to keep the cargo secret from the authorities forced him to chart a course outside the normal shipping lanes.

As you might expect, the ship gets lost in a storm. However, after abandoning the ship and its explosive cargo, the group rows their lifeboat into the fog where they find their own ship waiting for them. However, instead of continuing on their voyage, the group discovers that the boat is now caught in a marshy overgrowth of seaweed. Things get even stranger when the captain and his passengers discover an entire colony of people living on other ships that have become trapped in the seaweed over the centuries. Soon after their arrival, our plucky group find themselves fighting for their lives against killer seaweed, giant sea creatures and a Grand Inquisitor who intends to strip their ship of all its supplies. As I stated above, THE LOST CONTINENT is an oddball movie, but it does have an entertaining comic strip quality about it. The cast of THE LOST CONTINENT includes Eric Porter, Hildegard Knef, Suzanna Leigh, Tony Beckley, Jimmy Hanley, James Cossins, Neil McCallum, Nigel Stock, Benito Carruthers, Dana Gillespie, Darryl Reed, Eddie Powell and Michael Ripper.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has done a respectable job with their DVD edition of THE LOST CONTINENT. This presentation includes 8 minutes of cut footage that was uncovered from a Hammer film vault. For the most part the transfer is very nice, with THE LOST CONTINENT being presented at approximately 1.78:1 and the DVD having been enhanced for playback on 16:9 monitors. The restored footage is in rough shape and shows some dark streaking through the image. Other than this, the picture is quite watchable. Sharpness and detail are nowhere near the levels of a brand new Hollywood film, but everything is pretty crisp and rather nicely defined. Film grain is occasionally noticeable, plus there are some age related marking on the film element. Colors offer decent saturation and the flesh tones vary between pale and reasonably realistic. Blacks are good, but not exactly perfect. Digital compression artifacts manage to keep a low profile on this dual layered DVD.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack isnít high fidelity, but it doesnít contain any serious flaws. Music during the opening credits warbles a bit, although it is pretty solid during the rest of the presentation. The filmís dialogue is clear and intelligible. The interactive menus have music, but are otherwise standard issue, supplying access to the scene selection and supplemental features. As supplement, THE LOST CONTINENT includes a theatrical trailer, 20 and 60-second TV spots, plus a World Of Hammer episode entitled LANDS BEFORE TIME.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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